One of the best things about the Chicago music scene is it isn’t dominated by a single genre. On any given night one can hear the soulful groan of a blues band, the twang of an Americana banjo or the pulse of a hi-hat in a modern jazz tune. And sometimes, one can even hear all those things on the same stage. This was the case (though a different representation of genres) on Friday, February 12th at Martyrs’; a night featuring three local bands with three different sounds.
The night started with some progressive folk rock provided by Doug Shotwell & The Right Hand Band. While Shotwell is a Virginia native his “right hand” men are mainly made up of Chicago jazz, blues and rock musicians. Together the group crafted a sound rooted in soul with smooth slide guitar lines and a constant steady push from the rhythm section. On the surface, the songs felt simple, giving them a laid back, easy-to-listen-to vibe. But underneath there were layers of complexity which helped differentiate the songs from one another. It also helped keep the music from sounding too run-of-the-mill or twangy.
This week Chicago promoter Harmonica Dunn will be hosting Dunn Dunn Fest; a three night, six venue showcase featuring a number of local (and non local) bands. The fest will run from Thursday, February 18th to Saturday, February 20th with performances at Beat Kitchen, Subterranean, Tonic Room, Lincoln Hall, Schubas and The Hideout.
With so many great local bands at some of Chicago’s top venues, you really can’t go wrong with any show. Nonetheless, here’s who we’re excited to see:
Newly-founded Chicago group Stampy is running full speed right out of the gate. The band had already started tracking its debut LP before it even took the stage for the very first time February 6th at Double Door. The quintet’s first time gracing the stage was eclectic. Stampy’s original music appears to derive influence from across the musical spectrum. Progressive rock and blues are apparent, with tastes of soul throughout to soothe the pallet.
Below is a video, courtesy of gigity.tv, of Stampy performing a sweet-sounding original tune called “Drop of Rain” at the band’s debut performance. Enjoy!
Stampy’s debut LP is expect to drop by Summer 2016.
What happens when a few metal heads, an R&B singer, an indie god and a closet Paramore fanatic join forces and start a band?
No worries, this isn’t the start to a bad hipster joke. Actually, it’s the foundation of Chicago-based band, The Pact. It may have taken nearly four years of reformations and sound searching, but the alternative pop group has finally established themselves with the perfect blend of unlike genre gurus.
With less than a year behind their current formation, The Pact has already played a number of icon Chicago venues (House of Blues, Bottom Lounge) and shared the stage with national touring acts (HalfNoise, Spirit Animal). Combine this with the success of a recent EP release and an upcoming January 28th show with Tribe Society and The Karma Killers, and one might think The Pact has had a pretty easy ride.
But with any great story of success, there must first be failure.
Who: The Pact
When: Thursday, January 28th @ 8:30PM
Where: Beat Kitchen
Price: $10 adv/ $12 door
Chicago-based band, The Pact, has spent the last few months crafting a sound that balances indie elements of alternative and pop. This past November, The Pact released Reaching in the Dark, a five song EP recorded in the home studio of guitarist Caleb Harris. With less than a year behind the current lineup, the band has already played some iconic Chicago venues, such as the House of Blues, as well as shared the stage with well-known artists such as HalfNoise and Mighty Fox.
The night will also include performances by Tribe Society and The Karma Killers.
A few well-established members of Chicago’s budding music scene have released a new album that is, at times, light-hearted and upbeat, yet dark and menacing. Marrow’s debut album The Gold Standard frequently adjusts your headspace, solidifying it as an extremely well-rounded rock album.
Marrow was created from the backbone of Kids These Days, a purebred Chicago rock/rap group that split in 2013. In Kids These Days, guitarist Liam Kazar, keyboardist Macie Stewart and bassist Lane Beckstrom primarily provided the framework for now Roc-A-Fella Records recording artist Vic Mensa to rap over. But in Marrow, Kazar, Stewart and Beckstrom now have the opportunity to shine under “The Gold Standard.” Add drummer Matt Carroll to the mix, and Marrow is a group of old and new faces showing off diverse songwriting that perhaps has been bottled up for quite some time.